Al MC has been involved in music since a young age, teaching himself drums, bass and guitar as a kid. He was in his first band at age twelve, playing drums in his father’s country and western band, where they would perform to marginalized Aboriginal communities in Geraldton, Western Australia.

Growing up in both Australia and New Zealand, he discovered punk music as a teenager, in particular the Clash. This led to him stumbling across all sorts of reggae and dub which has influenced his musical style ever since.

Ali played guitar and sang in the polit-punk, rock reggae group Maralinga, a three piece based in Perth Western Australia. Maralinga, whose name was chosen to highlight the atomic bombing of Aboriginal land by the British and Australian governments in the 1950s and ’60s, would play a number of protest gigs, not least against the United States’ illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Maralinga folded in 2004 when Ali traveled through Africa for a number of months, and it was there the seeds of his current band, New Dub City were born. After returning to Perth, he began New Lost City, a five-piece crew that incorporated live instruments with DJ sampling and scratching, and electronic drum sounds and effects.

In 2007 Ali relocated to Melbourne, and after a couple more years spent traveling, he returned with the sound of New Dub City, which is based on a sound system style of presentation. Known for their energetic live shows and songs which merge a global sound, New Dub City have released a 7″ single and full length debut album, plus toured Australia and remote Aboriginal communities of the Western Desert Ngaanyatjarra Lands.

More info:
New Dub City
Ali’s travel blog

Big up Ali MC for his Top Ten Punky Reggae Songs for January 2012.

1. The Clash – (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais

This is the song that kick-started my interest in reggae. I was around 15 years old living in Lower Hutt and my friend’s brother who lived in Wellington was a mad punk rocker – mohawk, tartan pants, the lot. He lent me his copy of ‘The Story of the Clash’ on vinyl and that was it. After I heard White Man, plus Pressure Drop, Bankrobber and all these great songs, I started researching the Clash’s musical background and discovered all these amazing reggae and dub artists.

2. Prince Buster – Al Capone

‘Al Capone’s guns don’t argue!’ Damn straight. Rudies were the original punk rockers and ska formed the basis for much of what would then morph into the 70s punky reggae palette. Of course these early ska songs were all influenced by the rebels seen in the films, culminating with Ivan O Martin in ‘The Harder They Come’, the rudest rude boy of all. Plus Prince Buster provided the ska band Madness with the inspiration for their name as well as their first hit, and who doesn’t secretly enjoy the odd Madness tune?

3. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Burning and Looting

This track is pure fire and of course Bob Marley gave props to the punk scene. I realise this isn’t the Punky Reggae Party tune that you would expect in this list (which in my mind is a bit weak) but it carries a similar vibe of dread and protest in 1973 that would crop up in punks early tunes from around 1975 onwards. Plus, its use in the opening scene of the French film ‘La Haine’ is just breathtaking.

4. The Specials – A Message to You, Rudy

Hail up the Rude Boys! The Specials were special for a number of reasons, including their great tunes, but also for being one of the first integrated bands in the UK that had both black and white musicians. With Neville Staple taking the lead on the reggae sections and Terry Hall punking it out, how can you go wrong? The best of both worlds.

5. Big Youth – Screaming Target (album)

How is this classic album punk? I honestly have no idea. But it just sounds so fresh! And I’ve dropped tunes off it in DJ sets amidst old ska tunes and 70s punky reggae songs and they sound great. I guess also I have read that a lot of the early punk bands such as The Pistols and The Clash were influenced not only by Big Youth’s vocals but also the graphics on this particular record cover. I don’t think that music historians have given reggae enough credit for the formation of punk music – a lot of the early punks would always cite reggae as an influence.

6. Rancid – Time Bomb

On the fore front of the punk revival in the mid-90’s these guys were the most obvious to pay homage to their reggae and ska influences and out of all the so-called punk bands to emerge at that time, have at least tried to keep it real amidst their success. I remember skipping out of hospital a day early to go see them live in Scarborough – the funny thing was, I was in hospital due to an ear infection that arose by me trying to get one too many piercings…

7. Capleton – Jah Jah City

OK, so not exactly punk in the way you normally think of punk music. But let’s consider the attitude of punk. An old punk rocker once said to me that I looked like Johnny Rotten (I was 17 at the time). He also told me that punk wasn’t just about fast, loud music. After all, Blink 182 are fast and loud and they are about as punk as Justin Beiber. Capleton has so much attitude, aggression, innovation and originality – if Jello Biafra was Jamaican he’d sound something like this.

8. V. Spy V. Spy – One Of A Kind

V. Spy V. Spy were an 80s Australian rock-reggae band and this was one of their early tunes that grabbed my ear. The drummer has a unique way of playing and the guitarist and bass player lock into a very quirky riff. These guys came from the squat scene in Sydney and their lyrics often spoke about social issues in Australia, which influenced my thinking as a teenager. The tune also has a rad film clip shot on one of the northern beaches in New South Wales and strangely, the band has a massive following in Brazil – you can look on YouTube and see all these Brazilian garage bands covering their songs.

9. Blackstone Bush Reggae Band – Ngurra Blackstoneta

I’ve been working out in the Western Desert lately with Aboriginal bands from the Ngaanyatjarra remote communities. The Blackstone Bush Reggae Band are one of the groups that have impressed me the most. They sing in their local language about their country and culture, and have one of the fattest rhythm sections I’ve seen in an Australian reggae band. To me they are a punky reggae band because their music combines Aboriginal rock with Lucky Dube-style reggae sounds. And the fact that they have retained their language and culture in the face of the attempted genocide of the Aboriginal people is a big ‘fuck you’ to the government.

10. Straight To Hell – The Clash

OK I realise this is the second Clash song in the list, but I haven’t got them tattoo’d on my arm for nothing! This tune just shows how far the group had come in only six or seven years. They covered punk, dub, reggae, ska, hip hop, calypso and funk, and this tune to me almost sounds like an early dancehall beat. Joe Strummer’s lyrics are so haunting – he has taken punk music from songs about inner-city London town to the world, a true global perspective. And the bassist Paul Simonen has probably the best reggae feel for the instrument of any whitefella in history. ‘Go straight to hell, boy!’ Perhaps the end of punk?